If we go way back to the year 1776, we’d see that even the first President, George Washington, loved animals, especially dogs.
Things didn’t change throughout history. Almost every president had pets, dogs, and sometimes even exotic animals.
Be it as it is, dogs have remained favorites of U.S. Presidents. However, not every presidential canine was so special to be remembered. Only some of them have managed to enter the list of the most popular dogs of the White House.
We can go on and on about dogs owned by presidents like Hayes, Jackson, Carter, etc. Still, these 11 pooches are the ‘it’ dogs and deserve an honorable mention.
1. George Washington’s Dogs
It all started with the first president, George Washington.
Washington was an avid dog lover. Most of his dogs were actually hunting dogs because Washington enjoyed hunting. Some historians claim Washington owned over 50 dogs during his entire lifetime.
However, there are seven pups that always stand out when someone mentions the first president’s pets. Those are American Foxhounds (Vulcan, Scentwell, Sweetlips), Black and Tan Coonhounds (Taster, Tipler, Tipsy), and a Greyhound named Cornwallis.
2. Abraham Lincoln’s Dog, Fido
Fido this and Fido that…
Raise your hand if you’ve ever met a dog named Fido! Of course, you have!
But, did you know that the dog name ‘Fido’ actually originated from one of Abraham Lincoln’s pets? His dog, Fido, became famous after being killed by a drunk with a knife, just a few short months after Lincoln’s assassination.
Besides Fido, Lincoln also owned another dog named Jip, a turkey that was supposed to be a Thanksgiving meal, a donkey, cats, goats, a rabbit, etc.
3. The President With A Lot Of Pets
Teddy Roosevelt was one of the presidents with the most pets. The 26th president owned a bunch of different animals, including some quite exotic ones.
During his presidency, the White House saw lions, hyenas, badgers, guinea pigs, lizards, macaws, rats, pigs, owls, snakes…
Of course, Roosevelt did own normal pets. He was quite a dog person, and he had a Manchester Terrier, a Bull Terrier, a Pekingese, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, a St. Bernard, as well as some mongrels and other Terrier dogs.
4. FDR Was A Dog Person, Too
FDR’s dog, Fala, was a Scottish Terrier, and she stayed with the family for 12 years. Fala was one of the most popular presidential dogs. She used to perform tricks, and was loved by everyone, anywhere she went.
Fala behaved very strangely in FDR’s last moments, as she knew her favorite human was about to go. She was even buried close to him when she died seven years later.
Besides Fala, FDR also owned a former police dog, a GSD named Major, a Great Dane, another Scottish Terrier, a Bullmastiff, an Old English Sheepdog, and an English Setter.
5. The Kennedy Family
The beginning of the 1960s was marked by one man, a President that would enter history through many ways. We can’t forget John F. Kennedy – one of the finest presidents America ever had.
Although Kennedy was in the White House for a brief period of time, just for a thousand days, he still left a great impact and legacy.
Kennedy did his best to rule this country, and he tried his best to have a normal family, too. That’s why despite his allergies, Kennedy still insisted on having pets inside the White House.
Clipper, a German Shepherd gifted to Jackie Kennedy by the president’s father, Joseph, is one of the most memorable pets, often seen in Jackie’s company.
But, the President had his favorite, too! It was a Welsh Terrier named Charlie that even swam with JFK in the pool! That’s how much he loved that dog.
6. A Pup That Never Lived In The White House
I’m not joking. There was a presidential dog that never lived in the White House, but he was still extremely popular.
Checkers was his name, and he was a Cocker Spaniel that belonged to president Nixon. Accused of misusing campaign contributions, Nixon defended himself in a popular speech from 1952.
Nixon admitted keeping one of the campaign gifts… a black and white Cocker Spaniel pup named Checker. He became a favorite of Nixon’s daughters and a well-known canine in the 1950s.
To this day, Checkers remains famous as a pre-presidential-era dog that Nixon adored, even though he died four years before Nixon was actually elected.
7. Rex Reagan’s White House Mansion
The Reagan’s loved dogs. After losing their Bouvier des Flandres dog, Lucky, the presidential couple that marked the 1980s got another pup: a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Rex was his name and he enjoyed quite a treatment in the White House. Rex is known as the first presidential pup with a luxurious dog house… way bigger than dog houses of his predecessors.
Rex was much calmer and sweeter than Reagan’s first dog. He loved Nancy, and was often seen taking strolls with her.
When Rex passed away, the president himself buried the little fellow on their ranch in Santa Barbara and even carved him a headstone.
8. Bill Clinton’s Best Buddy
During his first term in the White House, former president Bill Clinton had a black and white cat named Socks. He was quite a cat person back then.
But then, in 1997, Hillary Clinton brought home a small chocolate Labrador named Buddy, and the family turned into a dog family, too.
Buddy was a frisky dog, and he did not get along with the family’s cat, Socks. They even made them live in separate parts of the White House because it was so difficult containing them.
Buddy crossed the rainbow bridge in 2002 after being hit by a car.
9. Bush And His Scottish Terriers
With every right, we can say that former president George W. Bush started a trend of viral dog videos. Back in the early 2000s, the family started posting videos online of their dogs enjoying winter holidays.
Barney and Miss Beazley were two Scottish Terriers, half-brothers to be precise, that made everyone laugh.
People will remember Bush for many things, and his pets are definitely one of them.
10. A New Breed In The White House
Barack Obama brought a lot of new things into the White House, including a dog breed that never stepped foot in the Oval Office.
The Portuguese Water Dog was never a part of any presidential family – the Obamas were the first. Given as a token of support from senator Ted Kennedy, Bo entered the White House at everyone’s excitement.
Bo was truly a special dog. Obama’s daughters had problems with allergies, so the family definitely had to consider a hypoallergenic pooch. As you know, the PWD is one of the finest breeds for allergic people.
Unfortunately, Bo crossed the rainbow bridge in 2021. He left his loyal friend, another PWD… a girl named Sunny to take care of his favorite family.
11. Biden And Major
The current U.S. President, Joe Biden, is a huge dog person, too!
During his campaign in 2021, Biden lost the GSD dog, Champ, due to old age. But, the new president didn’t go without a pup for too long. You’ll be surprised to learn how the new pup arrived at the White House.
Just a few days before his inauguration, Biden received Major… a bouncy GSD pup that once belonged to a humane society in Delaware. A so-called indoguration was held… a fundraiser that acquired more than $200,000. Major was ready to start his life at the White House.
But, the young pup encountered lots of problems while trying to adjust to his new lifestyle. He was too energetic, often charging into personnel, and even biting a couple of them. Luckily, Major went through extensive training and is now a fine first dog.